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44                                         VEHDIOT  ON


come to the North-West Frontier for two reasons. Firstly,
because it was, emotionally speaking, the most volcanic area in
the whole of India. Even when the passions of the Frontier people
were not bursting into actual eruption there were always sub-
terranean muttering* and echoes of revolt. I wanted to know the
reason why. Whose fault was it ? Ours ? Or %vas it a matter of
temperament ? Or 01 economics, or religion ?
Secondly, they had told me in Delhi that the Frontier wa*
quieter than it had been for twenty years, and again, it seemed
profitable to inquire why. To whom should go the credit ? Had
we changed our ways or had they changed theirs ? Were 'things *
 meaning economic things  better ? Was religious fanaticism on
the wane ?
It seemed reasonable to suppose that if one approached the
most diseased part of the Indian body and carefully examined the
local inflammation, one might arrive at a correct diagnosis of the
sickness of the whole,
I b?gan with the most obvious rendezvous of the sightseer 
the Khyber Pass* We will make a brief trip up it together and
perhaps we shall have learned something important by the time
we return.
To visit the Khyber is to be forcibly reminded that the veneer
of civilization, in those papts, is very thin. You can lunch fti the
country club at Peshawar, surrounded by pretty women in gay
dresses, while a smart little orchestra plays pre-war jazz. An hour
later you are far off in the mountains, in the world's grimmest
country, jagged and treacherous. The road over which you are
speeding is a thin ribbon of safety threaded through a blood-
soaked fabric of danger and death. And before tea-time you are
at the end of India, confronted by a gate that bars the road to
The end of India, it must be admitted, is something of an anti-
climax. A couple of corrugated iron sheds, a group of out-
buildings  the customs and the passport offices  and then, a
five-barred gate* When the gate is opened, a dog barks in a half-
hearted way, and that is all. One feels that the gateway to so